DAM 101: Digital Asset Management Basics

DAM 101: Digital Asset Management Basics

If you asked a business owner thirty years ago how they kept track of all their business assets, they would’ve pulled out dusty boxes of papers, receipts, time cards, sales logs, invoices, and cobwebs.

More than likely, that box would have been kept in a storeroom or office with several other boxes just like it, some dating back years and been next to impossible to keep organized or easily searchable.

Today, almost everything we do in business can be done digitally and stored online in the cloud. This method is more efficient as well as secure. It may even eliminate the need to have those dusty storage rooms and boxes full of disorganized paper.

Managing your digital assets in an organized and efficient way is more important now than ever.

Let’s define what the term “digital asset management” is (DAM) and the benefits a digital asset management system can provide a business that is either online or moving online.


What is Digital Asset Management, for Beginners? 

Want the short version? Download our free 1-page cheatsheet on the Basics of DAM 

Digital Asset Management (DAM) are centralized hubs of storage where one can store, search, retrieve and share multimedia files with any users from virtually any device, at any time, and from anywhere around the world.

Simply put, anything you have online is a digital asset. Below is a list of the most common digital assets that a DAM can store:

  • Images: jpg, gif, bmp, png, raw, etc.
  • Artwork: .psd (Adobe Photoshop), .ai (Adobe Illustrator), .indd (Adobe InDesign), etc.;
  • RAW photos;
  • Video: wmv, mpg, mpg4, mov, etc.
  • Audio: mp3, wav, etc.
  • Documents: pdf, doc, docx (Microsoft Word), xls, xlsx (Microsoft Excel), ppt, pptx (Microsoft PowerPoint), zip, etc.

More than just a standard single-user cloud-based file storage system, DAM systems allow for the cataloging, grouping, archiving, backing up, maintaining, and exporting of files among its user in real time.

This means that a business with many locations and employees or remote workers/teams could manage each individual’s permission and access levels. Businesses can set access to any of their digital assets from any location to any user whenever necessary.


digital asset management


Who uses DAM solutions?

DAM is mostly used by companies to save, store, and distribute important company assets. However, as an individual, you may already be familiar with digital asset management without even knowing it.

If you’ve ever used Google Drive, Dropbox, or any type of shared folder/file system, you’ve already used a DAM system.

Digitally managing assets can be a great tool for businesses of all size. For smaller companies, newly-hired employees can be trained via DAM-stored video clips and computer based training modules.

For larger corporations, having a shared system where you can pull the necessary files up from anywhere is a lifesaver for on-the-go sales teams or working with off-site teams.

Managing your digital assets in an organized and efficient way is more important now than ever. Click To Tweet

Large scale stock image providers like Getty, Shutterstock or Cutcaster have a way to easily catalog and sell their images online.

growth in digital asset management graph

Digital Management Market by Application, Including Projected Growth

Source: http://www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/digital-asset-management-market


The demand for DAM solutions has grown at a healthy clip over the last few years and is not expected to slow down anytime soon. The preference for rich media content, coupled with the increase in sheer volume of digital assets, are the key drivers in DAMs growth.

The amount spent on DAM solutions between 2015-2019, is expected to grow by at least 20% year over year.

Want the short version? Download our free 1-page cheatsheet on the Basics of DAM 


The Benefits of Using DAM

Whether you’re a project manager, a small business owner, a photography studio or out on the front lines chasing down sales leads for your company, the benefits to using a DAM solution are abundant. As more businesses processes are streamlined and tech-based, the need for efficient sharing and storage of digital assets will only increase.

As more businesses processes are streamlined and tech-based, the need for efficient sharing and storage of digital assets will only increase.


Save Time

First and foremost, your business will save time by moving projects along faster.

This is especially true when it comes to projects that receive suggestions and input from many individuals or when you are working with remote teams who are not in your location. The storage and dispersal of materials is efficient, fast and in most cases done in real time.


digital asset management statistics

Source: https://smartsoftwareblogaus.wordpress.com/category/digital-asset-management/


Research has shown that employees may spend as much as 10% of their time on file management, and most of that is spent searching for a file in their email, their computer or the source where they got the file from.

That’s 1 out of every 10 hours, or 4 hours in a standard work week simply spent looking for lost multimedia files.


Employees may spend as much as 10% of their time on file management #DAM Click To Tweet


What’s more shocking is that same research shows that 35% of the time, they fail to find the file they’re looking for and end up spending more time asking others for the file or having to re-buy a file if it was purchased in the past.

Imagine what your team could accomplish with 10% more free time and 100% access to every file, every image, every report, video, and presentation they need.


Save Money

If time is money, then digital asset management saves both. In terms of salary, training, and materials, an average of $8,200 is spent per person, per year on file management activities.

For a small business of 10 people, that’s $82,000 spent per year on searching, verifying, distribution, organization, security, and backups. With the proper digital asset management system, this number is dramatically decreased.


Selling Digital Assets

If your online company is built on providing digital assets (such as photos or videos) on a large scale, then a DAM is not so much a benefit as it is a necessity.

Companies looking to sell digital assets like photos, videos, templates or courses need to make sure that their files are searchable, organized coherently and downloadable.

By cataloging all of your files, having them keyworded, and categorized by things like orientation, color, size, or file type, a searcher can easily find the digital assets they need.


Organizational Efficiency

DAM brings organization. If you’re looking to organize and make your multimedia files searchable, you can break down how in-depth your files are labeled and how they’re stored.

In doing so, and by having a searchable repository for all your business’ assets, a business ensures that your team will never have to recreate graphics, artwork, files, or other data that was already in existence, yet lost in a sea of data dump.

marketing digital asset management

Source: https://smartsoftwareblogaus.wordpress.com/category/digital-asset-management/

What’s more, with easy access to these files, your organization can create a consistent brand experience. Remember, every point of contact between your business and your customer is an extension of your brand.

Employees will have access to the same brand standard files, reports, images, logos, and more.

Efficiency is increased and consistency is achieved for an overall positive experience.


What to Look for When Choosing a DAM System

The biggest question DAM experts or software engineers get is “What kind of Digital Asset Management system do I need for my business?”

There is no one answer to the question, and much depends on several factors and how much customization your system will need.

These may include: what type of business you operate, what rate you’re anticipating growth within your business, who will be adding metadata and uploading your files, who is accessing your files and what you’ll be using the DAM for, among others.

To break it down, there are basically three different types of DAM services:


Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)

This is a cloud-based digital asset management system that exists online, though not physically at your location. One of the benefits of using a SaaS option is that there’s no hardware or servers for you to maintain or install.

Just as convenient, SaaS DAMs are usually accessible to anyone with an internet connection and the right user permissions.

Security is provided by the provider company and can be updated by the business in real time. Another nice thing is that updates to your system are never a thing you must worry about, as it’s all done digitally.

SaaS systems are typically low-cost and billed monthly or yearly with tiered plans based on your specific needs. The barrier of entry is low, and it’s a great place to start looking for your digital asset management needs or to compare options.

If one of these SaaS options isn’t right for you, you may want to look at the following two options.


On-premises DAM

This is software that a business can install on their own hardware (computers). This type of DAM is generally used when a business needs an added layer of security due to the storing of sensitive information (customer billing information, legal information, etc.).

When a business purchases an on-premises DAM, they also gain access to the way the DAM stores their data, which is extremely helpful for experienced DAM users.

This type of system will require a decent amount of on-site IT support from within your organization, so it is best suited for companies with their own dedicated IT department.


Open Source

The most customizable DAM system is an open source solution that an engineering team can build for your business. Open source DAMs come in both on-premises or cloud-based formats.

Because open source DAMs are usually a collaborative development, new features to digital asset and media storage generally hit right away.

Whilst the setup of an open source solution can be more complex than an off-the-shelf solution, the benefits are often well worth the extra commitment.

Flexibility and customization are key to creating a solution that is going to fit your needs. You also have the ability to freely innovate on your DAM as you go – you’re not stuck with what you implement in the first instance.

Open source essentially allows you to create any kind of DAM you want, perfectly tailoring it to your specific use case.

Something to recap? Download our free 1-page cheatsheet on the Basics of DAM 


What are you Waiting For?

When it comes to successfully managing, growing, and shaping your business in the digital age, you need to find the DAM system that’s right for your business.

To learn more about implementing a custom DAM solution with SpiralScout, feel free to get in touch. We’d love to chat.

By | 2017-07-26T02:41:17+00:00 July 27th, 2017|Digital Asset Management|

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